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Ohio OSHA Fines Construction Co. for Excavation Cave-in Hazards

Saying that a Michigan construction company was "inviting tragedy on the job" by failing to safely protect employees from excavation accidents while they were working on a construction project in Toledo, an Ohio Department of Labor spokesperson announced penalties of $54,600 against the company.

WPM Construction Services of Grand Blanc, Michigan, was inspected in February at its Toledo job site by officials from the Ohio Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA"), who determined that the company had not established sufficient safeguards against cave-ins and traffic hazards. OSHA deemed WPM's Schneider Storage Basin Project a dangerous work environment and issued the company one willful and two serious safety citations.

"Cave-ins are a leading cause of worker fatalities during excavations," said Toledo Area Office OSHA director Julie Hovi in discussing the violations.

The citations were issued pursuant to a national program OSHA has established that emphasizes trenching safety. OSHA requires that all excavations more than five feet deep be adequately shored up against collapse.

Investigators found that to not be the case at the Schneider work site, where they state that employees were working without protection at depths of more than 20 feet. They also cited WPM for not requiring its workers to wear head protection and warning vests while they were working in a roadway trench near traffic hazards.

Related Resource: MMD Newswire, "OSHA cites WPM Construction Services for exposing workers to cave-in and traffic hazards at Toledo, Ohio, job site" May 24, 2011

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